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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
After a press release and a strongly-worded blog response by Gualberto Ranieri, Chrysler’s senior vice president of communications, it seemed as thought the battle between the automaker and with Swedish publication Teknikens Varld was all but over — until the magazine published new claims that prompted the brand to issue another response.
This isn’t supposed to be a problem anymore, but a Swedish publication found during its “moose test” that even at moderate speeds the Jeep Grand Cherokee is at serious risk for a potentially fatal rollover.
This news will surely anger anyone who currently owns a Saab that had some warranty left on it. However, General Motors is coming to the rescue, sort-of. GM is reaching out to those who bought a new Saab before February 2010. These cars were marketed and sold under GM’s ownership of Saab.
In a statement by GM’s spokesman Jim Cain, he said; “In the event Saab cannot or will not fulfill its obligations to administer the warranty programs with its U.S. and Canadian dealers through Saab Cars North America or otherwise, GM will take necessary steps to ensure that remaining warranty obligations on Saab vehicles marketed by GM in the United States and Canada will be honored.”
This act of kindness is very surprising, because GM doesn’t even like covering warranties on local-made products it considers was built by “old GM.”
So if you own a pre-2010 Saab, you’re in luck. However, for anyone who bought a newer Saab, it’s probably time to invest in a good used car warranty program.
[Source: Detroit Free Press]
Saab has officially been struggling for two whole years now, since its problems first came to light in December, 2009.
With time, it has seen some positive developments, but things don’t look any better for the foreseeable future.
A few months ago, Saab had received a court order that prevented its creditors to push the company into bankruptcy. It would use this time to reorganize. However, Saab’s owner – Swedish Automobiles NV, has said that Saab and its creditors have just five to six days to submit their views to the district court in Sweden. The court will decide whether to end the reorganization and push the company into bankruptcy.
Despite attracting two major Chinese companies (Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. & Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobiles) to invest in Saab, there have been delays in getting the necessary payments from the Chinese, and production lines have been sitting still for almost an entire year.
Saab previous owner, General Motors also has some objections. Most of the technologies found in current Saab vehicles is licensed from GM, and it does not want to support a sale of Saab that could hurt its own position in China.
GM currently builds the 9-4X for Saab in Mexico. If GM pulls the plug on their deal with Saab, it would be impossible for the company to survive in its current form.
Stay tuned, as this drama is far from over just yet.
[Source: Automotive News]
According to Saab CEO, Victor Muller, a takeover offer of the Swedish brand by China’s Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. has been turned down.
Although initial talks were intended to aid Saab in raising capital, Muller explains during a Reuters interview, “The token offer was unacceptable because it would trigger every conceivable change of control clause and that would possibly mean the end of Saab.”
Although the undisclosed offer was unsuccessful, the two Chinese automakers are still interested in Saab, committed to their 53.9 percent stake in the Swedish brand.
Addressing Saab’s plans if the Chinese companies walk away from the deal, Muller answers, “There is always a plan B.” However, keeping his cards close to his chest, Muller will reveal the details of the plan, “only if we resort to it.”
Moreover, an investment firm has also pledged an injection of capital, prompting the directing administrator in charge of Saab’s reorganization to request on Thursday for the Swedish court to pull the plug on Saab’s bankruptcy protection. Saab, having extended plants halts since March due to lack of money, avoided bankruptcy last month when the Swedish court granted Saab voluntary reorganization.
[Source: Automotive News]
After more than a year of struggle under Spyker’s management, many thought Saab would have succumbed to its financial woes already, yet somehow the Swedish automaker has been able to pull a few tricks out its bag just as it would seem that its luck had run out.
The latest reports indicate that Saab’s two Chinese suitors, Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co., are aiming to complete an investment deal on Saab by the end of 2011. According to the lawyer of Pang Da Automobile, Peter Goes, “The deal can be closed before the end of the year. They [Pand Da] are most impatient on getting production restarted. The main interest of our client is getting the cars into China.” Getting production restarted is especially crucial as Saab’s Trollhattan assembly plant is currently at a halt due to money owed to their suppliers and workers.
The final obstacle hindering Pang Da and Zhejiang’s $245 million Euro deal is obtaining approval from the Chinese government. As the automotive industry within China balloons, the Chinese government has been reluctant to let it expand much further, at least not without their supervision.
When given the green light, Pang Da and Zhejiang will receive rights to distribute Saabs, and are in development for plans to assemble Saabs in China as well.
Poor Saab can’t catch a break. Last week Saab’s European supplier were putting pressure on the Swedish automaker to declare bankruptcy, and this week the car company has pulled out of next months Frankfurt auto show, due to a lack of finances.
A Saab spokesperson explained that the car-maker will concentrate its resources on restarting production at its factory in Trollhatten, Sweden.
Saab was forced to end production in late March because of financial issues. The Swedish automaker has been trying to raise more funds and has stated plans of restarting manufacturing in a few weeks, however the car brand has said this for months.
“Whilst it would be desirable to be at the show to help further Saab’s global presence, it is not considered an appropriate use of resources at this time,” a posting on Saab’s Inside Saab blog stated.
[Source: Automotive News]
Swedish Automobile, owner of financially-stricken Saab, is being pressured by European suppliers to declare bankruptcy, hoping the threat will pressure the automaker to pay back debts.
Saab production came to a halt in April, with suppliers refusing to deliver components because they were not being properly paid. Spanish auto panels maker Matrici S. Coop prepared a bankruptcy request, after being owed $2.8 million by Saab.
Lars Holmqvist, head of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers said, ”Some companies are waiting and having no answer. Now, some have heard that other companies have been paid partially. Then they are getting very upset. They realize there is no other way but to try to demand bankruptcy because obviously then Saab pays.” Lars also explained that he had been contacted by some German companies that were owed more than 5 million euros each. They too are also interested in pursuing the process to demand Saab bankruptcy.
Saab spokesman Eric Geers explained, “We know the situation we are in. We are working very hard to resolve this and to get a more stable financing in place.”
Earlier this year Saab’s employee union threatened to push the automaker to the bring of bankruptcy over unpaid wages to workers.
[Source: Automotive News]
Volvo is currently working on developing several green technologies including an electric C30, a flywheel hybrid system and a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid system. This week, Volvo announced that it’s working on a more ambitious project -three unique range-extended electric drive setups. Volvo is working with the Swedish Energy Agency and the European Union to develop this technology.
All three technical concepts utilize similar hardware- a three-cylinder combustion engine and a 111-hp electric motor but they differ in how the engine assists the electric motor.
Technical Concept I uses a modified Volvo C30 and the system consists of a 60-hp three-cylinder engine, the 111-hp electric motor and a 40-kW generator. The rear mounted engine turns the 40-kW generator that charges the car’s battery pack.
Technical Concept II also uses a modified C30 and utilizes a parallel-connected range extender. The rear mounted engine also turns the 40-kW generator. The engine and the electric motor operate in tandem. The engine powers the rear wheels and the 111-hp electric motor powers the front wheels.
Technical Concept III is installed in a European market V60 wagon and also uses a parallel connected system. Technical Concept III uses an electric motor and a turbocharged three-cylinder engine, with both units located in the engine bay. Both power-plants drive the front wheels through a two-stage automatic transmission.
[Source: Car and Driver]
A used car dealer in New Jersey is trying to make a profit off of John F. Kennedy Jr.’s Saab 900 by selling it for $100,000 on eBay.
For those of you that think the price is fitting, a 1994 Saab 900 in excellent condition and low miles typically would sell for about $4,700 on any used car lot. So this Garden State used car dealer is marking the price up by $95,000. This car was JFK Jr.’s daily driver at the time of his death in 1999, and has been stored ever since the tragic accident. The Saab has just 30,500 on the odometer and seems to be in pretty good condition. The car comes with all the proper documents proving the link to the Kennedys including JFK Jr.’s license. The dealer has also shown the respect and restraint one would expect from a New Jersey used car dealer, caps lock and all:
THIS IS ONE OF THOSE OPPORTUNITIES THAT COME AROUND ONCE IN A LIFETIME TO OWN A PIECE OF CAMELOT FROM THE KENNEDY DYNASTY. THIS CAR WAS PARKED FOR OVER 10 YEARS, BUT ONLY UNTIL NOW IS IT BECOMING AVAILABLE FOR SALE….
JOHN F. KENNEDY, JR. WAS A BELOVED PERSON THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, IT IS THE FIRST TIME THAT HIS PERSONAL VEHICLE IS BEING OFFERED FOR SALE. IMAGINE ACTUALLY OWNING THIS VEHICLE IN YOUR CAR COLLECTION, MUSEUM OR SIMPLY IS THE BEST CONVERSATION PIECE EVER. WE ARE SURE THAT YOU CAN FIND MANY VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE SHOWING JOHN AND HIS WIFE CAROLINE GETTING IN HIS SAAB ATTEMTING TO AVOID THE PAPARAZZI IN NEW YORK CITY.
So far there are no offers with eight hours left in eBay the auction.
Union employees working for Saab are growing impatient after the automaker said it could not pay wages to its workers because it had not yet obtained necessary short-term funding. The unions have threatened legal action that could end in bankruptcy for the automaker. The IF Metall and Unionen groups will send a formal demand for payment this Monday if their members have not received their unpaid wages. ”Then the company has seven days to react,” IF Metall representative Veli-Pekka Saikkala told Reuters. “After that there are two alternatives. Either we see that the situation can be solved, or we demand that Saab is put into bankruptcy.”
A rescue package for Saab has been set up by two Chinese car companies, Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co, which would solve longer-term financial issues, however this still needs to be approved by authorities in China and Europe.
Bankruptcy is still very possible for Saab and “The company is in a downward spiral. The longer it takes, the tougher it gets. The longer it takes, the more potential buyers will leave,” said analyst Martin Crum at Dutch Broker AEK
Saab stopped production in April because of payment disputes with suppliers and only briefly restarted production for a week at the beginning of June. So far Saab owes at least $47 million to Swedish suppliers, and the longer the Trollhatten plant is at a standstill, the deeper the hole becomes for the automaker.
[Source: Automotive News]
Saab’s ongoing drama will remain at a standstill for another two weeks. Saab’s Trollhattan factory in Sweden, has not produced vehicles for most of April and May because of issues regarding paying suppliers. The factory bounced back in late May, but was quickly forced to stop production when part supplies ran out yet again.
“There will be no normal production during weeks 25 and 26 (June 20th-July 3rd),” Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs said.
In the last few weeks, Saab made agreements with two Chinese Car companies, Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co and Pang Da which, if approved by Chinese governments, will solve its mid and long-term financial issues.
“We are still negotiating with all suppliers and we need to get everyone on board at the same time,” Gustavs said. “The weeks of 27-29 (July 4th-24th) are planned to be normal working weeks”.
Saab has spoken with Swedish property company Hemfosa on a sale and leaseback deal for the Swedish plant. Hemfosa was prepared to pay around $46 million for Saab’s properties. If this quick sale goes through, Saab will have the finances to restart production.
“There is nothing new that we can communicate,” Gustavs said on its building sale plans. “That is still being negotiated.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Volvo has planned several major changes for its 2012 model year lineup in the US. The automaker has discontinued the S40 and V50, after already cutting the V70 earlier in the year. The move is a big change for the Swedish company that built its name on safe and sturdy station wagons.
In addition, Volvo will no longer be offering the V8 engine in the XC90 or S80 in North America. Instead it will rely on its new turbocharged 6-cylinder engine to deliver the grunt on its larger models.
Overall, most Volvo models get more standard features and new trim levels but will maintain similar prices to last year’s models.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
Saab halted production yesterday at its Trollhattan plant in Sweden after operations were disrupted by problems with supplier deliveries. Saab resumed production on May 27 after shutting down from April to May due to non existent operating capital. Suppliers became worried about receiving payment and stopped supplying the Swedish plant.
Saab began a deal with Chinese car distributor Pang Da Automobile, however that deal is still pending Chinese government approval. Saab’s previous agreement with Hawtai Motor Group fell through because of a lack of approval from Chinese authorities.
Saab is under the impression that its deal with Pang Da will go through however some analysts believe the Chinese government may block the agreement because they want to pursue a different strategy for China’s auto industry. The Chinese government wants China to export cars and become the world’s largest manufacturing base. The government is hoping to consolidate all Chinese automakers into a few brands that can develop to become global car manufacturers like GM and VW.
[Source: World Car Fans]
Volvo has just released a fascinating new version of their OnCall app for iPhone and Android phones that provides the owner with a range of beneficial features. The features include a car locator, incase you forget where you parked, remote door lock or vehicle health check. This app works on 2012 Volvo models and can be downloaded for free.
The app’s features include:
Car locator: The location of the car is shown on the smartphone map
Remote door lock: The doors and windows can be opened and close via the phone.
Vehicle dashboard: This feature allows the driver to see vehicle information such as fuel level, average fuel consumption, average speed, odometer reading and trip reading.
Car Check: This impressive app allows the driver to check the “health” of the car, displaying bulb outages, brake fluid level, coolant level, engine oil level and engine oil pressure.
Theft Notification: If the Volvo alarm is triggered, a message will be sent to the phone
“We design cars around people’s needs and lifestyle. Creating an intuitive and ergonomically optimised driver’s environment is part of our aim to offer a feeling of relaxed control. It is only logical that you should feel in command of your vehicle, including after you have parked it,” says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO at Volvo Car Corporation. “The new mobile applicationtransforms Volvo On Call from an emergency system to a useful convenience feature. It will help us boost sales of the system – and we are convinced that our ambitious plans in this connectivity field will help us attract more and more new customers in the future,” explained Stefan Jacoby.
[Source: Motor Ward]
Volvo has officially released a recall for 7,558 2012 S60 vehicles because of a potental problem with the fuel pump. The fuel pump issue may lead to engine hesitation and stalling even if the fuel gauge idicates up to a quarter tank of gas. This issue could potentially lead to a crash.
The software for the fuel pump unit may not be compatible with all fuel pumps and components. This may result in an insufficient transfer of fuel in the pump unit. The S60′s affected include cars made from November 18, 2010 through May 5 2011.
Volvo expects the safety recall to begin June 17. The dealer will upgrade the engine control module software for free.
If Volvo owners have any questions, they are asked to call 1-201-768-7300
Volvo has announced plans to develop and test a new flywheel kinetic energy recovery system. Volvo says the KERS system (or FKERS as Volvo calls it) is “a light, cheap and very eco-efficient solution that makes a four-cylinder engine feel like a six at the same time as fuel consumption drops with up to 20 percent.”
The KERS system is fitted to the rear axle of the car (displayed in video). When braking, the energy causes the flywheel to spin at up to 60,000 revs per minute. When the car starts moving again, the flywheel’s rotation is transferred to the rear wheels via a specially designed transmission. This will allow fuel efficiency to improve by 20%. Horsepower and acceleration are also improved under this system.
Volvo is planning to begin testing the system later this year with the hopes of launching it ”within a few years.”
Check out the video after the jump!
Saab will finally gain some stability, as the company will resume production tomorrow at its Trollhattan, Sweden, assembly plant.
The facility has been idle for about six weeks. Saab’s owner, Dutch automaker Spyker, has been unable to secure the much-needed financing to pay off its suppliers, but the automaker says it has reached agreements that will allow it to begin building cars again.
“Based on the information we have, it looks like we will start up production tomorrow,” spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs told Reuters.
Tomorrows production will produce 100 vehicles instead of the usual 230-240 cars per day.
Saab and Spyker have been waiting for the Chinese government to approve a $110 million Euro investment in Pang Da. The Chinese distributor has already paid Saab 30 million euros for the opportunity to sell cars in China.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Saab has been surrounded by general corporate uncertainty and financial trouble over the last few weeks. The failed deal with China’s Hawtai Motor and Saab’s $100 million payment mishap with its parts suppliers have taken a toll on the Swedish automaker however the company may have a second chance.
Saab announced on Thursday that it has made progress with its 800 suppliers and is confident it will resume production by next week. “What we are aiming at, what is an internal goal here now, is (for production) to be up and running at the end of next week,” Saab production director and purchasing manager Gunnar Brunius said.
Saab has struck a deal with China’s Pang Da, which has agreed to pay the automaker $30 million up front, to get the company moving again. Furthermore, Pang Da will invest another $84 million, if approved by the Chinese government, giving the Chinese distribution firm a 24 percent stake in Saab. However, if the deal fails, Saab will have to repay Pang Da’s initial $30 million investment, which could cripple Saab financially.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Deal contingent on additional investment, bank loans
General Motors has signed an agreement to sell off its Swedish Saab unit to the Koenigsegg Group. Led by supercar maker Koenigsegg, the group includes several additional investors. The deal will see the Koenigsegg Group take a 100 percent stake in Saab.
In a statement Koenigsegg Group CEO Christian von Koenigsegg said that the group plans to “transform Saab into a stand-alone vibrant entrepreneurial company and make it ‘sustainable’ by making it profitable.”
The deal is still contingent on additional funding, which Koenigsegg plans to raise through government loans and additional investors. According to a report in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri, a Koenigsegg Group executive said that the company requires $413.6 million in additional investments. Currently the Swedish government is reviewing a plan to secure a loan from the European Investment Bank.
Both Koenigsegg and General Motors seem to have differing opinions on how long it will take for the funding issue to be solved. Koenigsegg spokeswoman Halldora von Koenigsegg said she expects funding to be secured by in a month, while the less-optimistic GM is reported to have the end of 2009 pegged as a deadline to finalize the sale.
Additional specific terms of the agreement are not known, but it is expected that GM will supply the Koenigsegg Group with resources to assist in developing one additional model. Currently Saab is set to launch its latest model, the 2010 9-5 (pictured above) at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
[Source: Automotive News]